Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group (GICM)



    Mustafa Baouchi.jpg

    Mustafa Baouchi, Leader of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group.[1]

    Status: ACTIVE
    AKA: GICM, Groupe Islamique Combattant, Marocain
    Formed: 1993
    Areas of Operation: Afghanistan, Belgium, Bosnia, Canada, France, Morocco, Sweden, United Kingdom
    Ideology: Religious (Islamist - Sunni, Salafi)
    Leader: Mustafa Baouchi
    Affiliates: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb

    Organizational History

    The Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group’s (GICM) main objective centers on the creation of an Islamic state in Morocco.
    The first traces of the GICM were found in Morocco in 1993. Moroccan veterans of the jihad in Afghanistan returned to their home country eager to induce change through violent means as the Taliban had done. Some of these veterans created the Harakat al-Islamiya al-Maghrebiya al-Mukatila (HASM) movement. In contrast to the later metamorphosis of the Moroccan Islamist movement, the HASM was decidedly domestic in scope; its aim was to bring down the regime of King Hassan and replace it with an Islamic regime. The HASM later split into two different organizations, one of which was the GICM. Despite operating for many years, the GICM remained in relative obscurity until gaining public notoriety in 2003 with the bombings in Casablanca. Subsequent investigations gained much information on the GICM and its international structure. The U.S. Department of State designated the GICM as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2005, and they were added to the Terrorist Exclusion List by the Secretary of State in 2004. Much of the group has disintegrated, and the leadership has either been killed or arrested.


    Investigations into the GICM resulted in the recovery of a 33-page charter that outlines the basic structure of the group.  It described a hierarchy which included consultative council at the top, an executive council directly below, and various special commissions charged with, among other things, weapons acquisition, recruitment, and management of sleeper cells.


    A variety of petty criminal activity is believed to finance the group.  The GICM group that carried out the Madrid bombings in 2004 was financed by drug trafficking through North Africa and Europe.  Counterfeiting currency notes has also been cited as financing the GICM.


    GICM is believed to target the poor and disaffected in Moroccan society as potential recruits; a particularly important area in this regard is the slums of Casablanca and Fez.  GICM was beginning to focus on the North African diaspora located in Europe as a recruitment pool.


    The GICM has primarily employed bombings against soft targets with great effectiveness.  Bombing tactics include the traditional planted explosive as well as suicide bombings.  A variety of soft targets have been hit by GICM bombings including commercial businesses and transportation.


    2004 train bombings in Madrid.jpg 

    Madrid train bombing in 2004. [2]

    2004 train bombings in Madrid 2.jpg 

    Madrid train bombing in 2004. [3] 

    Madrid Bombing Suspect Youssef Belhadj.jpg 

    Madrid bombing suspect Youssef Belhadj. [4] 

    Casablanca Bombings.jpg 

    Suicide bombing in Casablanca, Morocco on May 16, 2003. [5] 

    Marrakech, Morocco Bombing 4-2011.jpg 

    Bombing in Marrakech, Morocco in April, 2011. [6]

    Al-Qaeda Flag.png

    Flag of Al Qaeda, an affiliate of GICM. [7]



    1. Retrieved from [1] on 11/16/2011.
    2. Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, Getty Images, Retrieved from [2] on November 16, 2011.
    3. Retrieved from [3] on November 16, 2011.
    4. Associate Press photo retrieved from [4] on November 16, 2011.
    5. Bomb blast hits popular cafe in Morocco, killing 15. (2011, April 28). MSNBC. Retrieved from on November 16, 2011.
    6. DoD file photo. Retrieved from [5] on November 16, 2011.